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Thousands at "A Day Without Latinos" protest in Madison

Thousands at

"Most of the immigrants in this state hide in the shadows and now we would be afraid to leave our homes", said Madison West student Michael Portillo. The other measure would prohibit municipalities from creating laws restricting law enforcement officers from inquiring about the immigration status of people whom they contact.

The rally is being held to emphasize opposition to anti-immigrant bills circulating at the Capitol.

A crowd estimated by police in the thousands has gathered to protest against a pair of Republican bills.

Spiros says Latinos are not being told the truth about the bill.

Organizers at Voces de la Frontera, a Wisconsin immigrant-rights group, are calling the action "A Day Without Latinos".

The first bill, approved Tuesday by the state Assembly, would cut state funding from cities that don't enforce immigration statutes in an effort to crack down on so-called sanctuary cities.

Supporters of the bills say they would increase public safety and streamline existing laws, but the opponents who flooded Madison say they are anti-immigrant and attack a population that is already discriminated against.

Hairy panic sets in as homes are swallowed in masses of tumbleweeds
One resident claimed she spent eight hours clearing up the tumbleweed on one day, only to have it return the next. The local government has said that they don't consider the weed a fire hazard, so they won't help with cleanup.

Hundreds of Latinos and immigrants from around the state are demonstrating outside the Capitol in Madison against state legislation they say is divisive.

"We need exactly the opposite bills".

Protester Cerxio Guerrero said that most don't understand the important role Latino workers play in the state's economy.

The first bill, AB 723, would prevent towns and counties from issuing photo ID cards, with the exception of employee ID cards, cards for vendors or contractors and cards required to use services and facilities like transit systems. Approximately 90% of people in the state's dairy industry are from Mexico, according to a study cited by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

"We have a fair number of Latino employees, so it will be obvious to them where we stand on these issues, and I hope for some sort of ripple effect if enough people understand the negative aspects of this legislation", said owner David Yankovich.

Even if you're not planning on attending the Day Without Latinos rally in downtown today, you may still be affected by it. "[Latinos and immigrants] work jobs that others don't want to".

Similar bills to the ones being protested were passed in Virginia, Arizona, Florida and North Carolina, Singleton-Freeman said.

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